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Conflict And Struggle

Immigration

Regina Leader
January 28, 1890. p.4

During the next few months this is the question which should be paramount in the North-West. Responsible government, universities, mills, factories, railways -- all these will come if we get immigration to fill up the sparsely settled districts and add to the stability of our towns. The following from a long article on the subject in the Edmonton Bulletin is worthy of thought:

“While the removal of a useful citizen from one country to another may be considered a loss to the country he leaves, when the removal is from a part of the country where he has not full scope for his energies and where therefore his time is spent to some extent unprofitably, to a part of the country where there is the fullest scope for his fullest and best energies, there is a clear gain both to the person himself and to the country at large. This is the position in which Canada is situated. The well settled and fully developed eastern provinces have a yearly surplus of population, while in the North-West there is a need for all the people who may choose to come, and by the settlement of this surplus population of the east in the North-West, that part of the people are in a position to add more to the wealth of the country than they could possibly if they remained in the east.

Considering the deep material interest that residents in a sparsely settled country have in the rapid increase in population in their vicinity it is not strange that the question of how best to induce that increase should be considered to be one of the first importance with them, or that they should put forth strong efforts to secure it. Considering the mutual interest that exists between the east and the west in this as in all other matters it is very natural that the North-West should put forth its efforts towards securing increased population in the direction of the eastern provinces. But it does seem more than strange to find that in the eastern provinces the plain interest that the people there have in the planting of their surplus population in the North-West is not realized more strongly than it is. Everyone in the North-West is aware of the great immigration to Manitoba and the North-West during 1881 and 1882, and everyone is also aware that since these years the immigration to the Canadian North-West has been very slight. A natural conclusion would be that there had been such an exodus during these years as to prevent there being a surplus population during the succeeding years. This is not the fact. Since 1882 a steady stream of immigration from Eastern Canada and particularly Ontario has been flowing to various parts of the United States, and strange to say without an effort on the part of either newspapers or public men in the east to direct it towards the North-West. While public men on both sides of politics declare it to the contrary of the public interest to endeavor to induce the removal of population from one part of the country to another, and deliberately refuse to do anything to direct the attention of the emigrating public of the east to the North-West, railway and land companies of the United States are most active in directing attention towards their several localities. They spare neither pains nor expense to induce the removal of Canadians to the United States, knowing that they are the most valuable class of settlers they can find. These people do not go to the States rather than to the North-West because the former is the better country, for it is not. They do not go because the political institutions are preferable, for they are not. They go chiefly because they can more easily get the fullest information regarding the parts of the States to which they desire to go, than they can regarding the North-West, and because until the past year railway development there has been so much more rapid. Now that railway development on a grand scale throughout the North-West has fairly commenced would seem to be an opportune time for laying before the surplus population of the east the advantages which this country has to offer to settlers as compared with the United States. Every person interested in the development of the country should look upon it as a matter of personal interest to distribute all the information possible regarding its advantages wherever it would be likely to do good. If the people of the east do not see that their interest lies in the settlement of the North-West it is unfortunate, but makes all the more necessary still more strenuous exertions on the part of the people of the North-West, to secure that increase of population by which alone that full development which is so desirable can be attained.”